Amazon Prime launched in 2007 in the UK and two-years earlier in the US. It's now available in multiple countries around the world and millions of members have signed up to receive a swathe of benefits. Not least early access to bargains during the current Black Friday sales.
However, it can be a little confusing as to what else it actually offers. There are so many small deals and services attached to Prime membership that even if you are a subscriber already, you might not realise what you get.
That's why we've put together this explainer, to give newcomers and existing members the rundown of what Amazon Prime has to offer.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a paid membership that, for an annual or monthly fee, gives access to a number of Amazon services and enhancements.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
In the UK, Amazon Prime membership usually costs either £7.99 a month or £79 a year - with the latter clearly making more economic sense although you do have to find the money up front.
Alternatively, you can also subscribe to Prime Video exclusively for £5.99 a month. That's if you don't want the other Prime benefits. Prime Video is included in the other Prime membership fees.
In the US, Amazon Prime membership costs $10.99 a month or $99 a year. A Prime Video-only account costs $8.99 a month.
In both regions, you can try Prime membership for free for the first 30-days. If you cancel within that time, it doesn't cost you a penny. You will be charged after the 30 days are up if you don't cancel, however.
What do you get with Amazon Prime membership?
Amazon Prime membership covers several key services, which come at no extra cost.
Unlimited one-day and same-day delivery
Prime was originally devised to offer free one-day delivery on millions of eligible items across all categories on Amazon's online store. Order an item tagged as Prime and you will get it the next day - even on Sundays.
In some cases this includes same-day delivery, with postcodes and zipcodes in and around many major cities across the UK and US covered by Amazon's same-day delivery scheme.
Access to Amazon's Prime Now service even means you can have an item delivered for free within two-hours. This includes thousands of "best of Amazon" items and even groceries.
You can also get one-hour deliveries if you pay an additional £6.99 or $7.99 per delivery.
It's only available in certain locations for now, including London, Liverpool and Manchester in the UK, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles in the States.
Amazon Prime Video is the company's alternative to Netflix. It offers thousands of TV shows, documentaries and movies to stream to multiple devices, without having to pay anything extra.
This includes blockbuster movies, such as Arrival, The Girl on the Train and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. It also includes TV series, including exclusives made by Amazon itself - as part of the Amazon Originals line-up - or licensed by the company.
In the UK, this includes Mr Robot and The Grand Tour, starring Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. The latter is an Amazon Original and therefore only available on Prime Video.
As detailed above, you can also subscribe to Amazon Prime Video on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for £5.99 or $8.99 a month respectively without any of the other Prime benefits, but considering it only costs £2/$2 a month more for full Prime membership (less if you pay annually) it seems a waste.
- How to watch Amazon Video on your Android phone or tablet
- How to watch Amazon Prime Video on TV: Your complete guide
Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited
Prime Music offers more than two million music tracks to listen to on demand, streamed over the internet to any one of multiple devices. It is included with a Prime subscription, but you can also choose to pay extra (£7.99 a month, £79 a year for Prime members in the UK, $7.99/$79 in the US) for a Music Unlimited pass to expand the music choice to more than 40 million tracks.
Music Unlimited costs more for non-Prime members.
It also offers a 30-day free trial.
You can read over a thousand books, magazines, comics and more with Prime Reading. It works with any of the Kindle apps for multiple devices, or on Kindle eBook readers. You just need to find content supported for Prime Reading and read it as part of your overall Prime membership.
In the US, some books with Audible narration are supported too.
Audible original audio series can also be listened to with an American Prime membership. That service is yet to come to the UK.
After Amazon bought videogames video streaming service Twitch it added some benefits for Prime subscribers. Discounts on games, additional in-game content and ad-free viewing of Twitch streams are on offer. You can also subscribe to your favourite Twitch channel at no extra cost.
As part of your membership, you get unlimited photo storage on Amazon Drive - the retailer's cloud service. That means you can upload and keep a copy of every photo on your desktop PC, Mac or mobile device. There are apps for both iOS and Android. You can even set them up to automatically upload your pictures as you take them, ensuring you never lose an image, even if you phone is lost or stolen.
Early access to Lightning Deals
All year round, Amazon runs a sales and deals section of its website called Lightning Deals, which offers big bargains on products for a limited time. There is a finite amount of stock on offer for each item and when they have all been bought, the deal is over.
Prime membership means you get a 30-minute heads-up on all deals before non-members can also purchase them, so you get the chance to snaffle them first. This is especially attractive during big sales periods, such as during the build-up to Black Friday this and every other year.
With a Prime membership, you can also sign up to Amazon Family, which gives you other benefits, such as 20 per cent off nappies when ordered with Amazon's Subscribe & Save scheme.
Create an Amazon Household and you can also share your Prime benefits with one other adult. You can also manage digital content and parental controls for kids services, such as Kindle for Kids or Fire for Kids.
Fire for Kids Unlimited
While it's not an included benefit, Fire for Kids Unlimited is a no-advert subscription service that works across Amazon Fire Tablets and is much cheaper for Prime members. It's also known as Amazon FreeTime Unlimited in the US.
It costs £1.99 ($2.99) a month for access for one child, £4.99 ($6.99) for up to four children. The usual price for non-Prime members is £3.99 ($4.99) and £7.99 ($9.99) a month respectively.
US parents can also subscribe for a yearly fee of $83 for Prime members, $119 for non-members. That gives access for up to four children.
Fire for Kids Unlimited / Amazon FreeTime Unlimited includes access to a large, curated selection of age-appropriate eBooks, TV shows, movies, games and educational apps.